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Eb2 National Interest Waiver Green Cards 

The EB2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is a visa designed to allow individuals to obtain permanent residency in the United States without a job offer from a US employer, if they can show that they intend to work towards the National Interest of the United States and have a distinguished professional history.

The EB2-NIW visa is available to foreign nationals who:

  • have attained an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent in a professional field.

  • have attained a Bachelor degree and at least 5 years of progressive experience in their field; or

  • Are able to demonstrate exceptional capabilities in fields.

To demonstrate exceptional ability, an applicant must meet at least three of the criteria below.

  • Official academic record showing that an applicant has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability

  • Letters from current or former employers documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation

  • A license to practice profession or certification for an applicant's profession or occupation

  • Evidence that an applicant has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates her/his exceptional ability

  • Membership in a professional association(s)

  • Recognition for an applicant's achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by the peers, government entities, professional or business organizations

  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

The following individuals are eligible to apply for an EB2-NIW:

  • A foreign national who meets the educational requirements, and

  • A foreign national who meets the three-prong test in Matter of Dhanasar decision listed below:

  1. The proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance

  2. The applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.

  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification.

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First Prong: The Proposed Endeavor has both Substantial Merit and National Importance

The endeavor’s merit may be demonstrated in areas including, but not limited to, business, entrepreneurship, science, technology, culture, health, or education. In addition, officers may consider evidence of the endeavor’s potential significant economic impact, but “merit may be established without immediate or quantifiable economic impact” and “endeavors related to research, pure science, and the furtherance of human knowledge may qualify, whether or not the potential accomplishments in those fields are likely to translate into economic benefits for the United States.”

The national importance of the specific endeavor is determined by considering its potential prospective impact. The endeavor may have national importance because it has national or even global implications within a particular field, such as certain improved manufacturing processes or medical advances. Economically, it may have “significant potential to employ U.S. workers” or “other substantial positive economic effects, particularly in an economically depressed area. If the evidence of record demonstrates that the person’s proposed endeavor has the significant potential to broadly enhance societal welfare or cultural or artistic enrichment, or to contribute to the advancement of a valuable technology or field of study, it may rise to the level of national importance.

Second Prong: The Person is Well Positioned to Advance the Proposed Endeavor

In evaluating whether the person is well positioned to advance the endeavor, USCIS considers factors including, but not limited to:

  • The person’s education, skills, knowledge, and record of success in related or similar efforts;

  • A model or plan that the person developed, or played a significant role in developing, for future activities related to the proposed endeavor;

  • Any progress towards achieving the proposed endeavor; and

  • The interest or support garnered by the person from potential customers, users, investors, or other relevant entities or persons.​

Third Prong: On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements

For the third prong, an officer assesses whether the person’s endeavor and the person being well-positioned to advance that endeavor, taken together, provide benefits to the nation such that a waiver of the labor certification requirement outweighs the benefits that ordinarily flow from that requirement. For example, in the case of an entrepreneur, where the person is self-employed in a manner that generally does not adversely affect U.S. workers, or where the petitioner establishes or owns a business that provides jobs for U.S. workers, there may be little benefit from the labor certification.


Therefore, in establishing eligibility for the third prong, petitioners may submit evidence relating to one or more of the following factors, as outlined in Matter of Dhanasar:

  • The impracticality of a labor certification application;

  • The benefit to the United States from the prospective noncitizen’s contributions, even if other U.S. workers were also available; and

  • The national interest in the person’s contributions is sufficiently urgent, such as U.S. competitiveness in STEM fields.

More specific considerations may include:

  • Whether urgency, such as public health or safety, warrants foregoing the labor certification process;

  • Whether the labor certification process may prevent an employer from hiring a person with unique knowledge or skills exceeding the minimum requirements standard for that occupation,[61] which cannot be appropriately captured by the labor certification;

  • Whether the person’s endeavor has the potential to generate considerable revenue consistent, for example, with economic revitalization; and

  • Whether the person’s endeavor may lead to potential job creation.

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Licensed U.S. Immigration Counsel

Ana Kamkhadze, Esq.

Significant expertise in U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Law for almost a decade. 

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